Structured Data Not Supported for Unpaid Listings in Google Shopping Tab

By Brodie Clark

May 16, 2020
Structured Data Markup Not Supported for Unpaid Listings in Google Shopping Tab Example

Surfaces Across Google is a component of Search that is growing rapidly. In April of 2020, it was announced that the feature would expand to the Shopping tab.

This was just an initial release for those based in the US. But support is quickly catching on worldwide, with eligibility for all Surfaces being rolled out to other countries on May 5th.

Every other other week I’m learning something new about Surfaces Across Google. This week I’ve found that the Shopping tab listings function differently to the other Surfaces.

Instead of using Structured Data as an input for result generation (like what happens with Search, Maps and Images), the Shopping tab listings do not.

The unpaid results found in the Shopping tab are based exclusively on data submitted via Merchant Center. This is the same as how the paid results have always functioned.

Here’s how this change has been represented in Google’s support documentation for the data and eligibility requirements for Surfaces Across Google:

Google Support Documentation Update Surfaces Across Google

In my opinion, this move makes sense for this component of Search. Google Shopping is still its own entity in the SEO world, with Search continuing to be a congregation of various data sources across the web.

This change also makes tracking organic performance within the Shopping tab much easier. Use of the UTM parameter tracking method should now work seamlessly.

Being based in Australia (with the majority of my clients located here too), I haven’t been able to do much testing yet. Although our country is eligible, the listings aren’t visible in our search results.

Another early opinion I’ve shared so far surrounds expectations with the unpaid listings in the Shopping tab roll out. If a brand was already performing well in the paid listings, you’ll likely see similar in the unpaid results.

Just because you’re selling products online doesn’t mean you’ll receive an instant boost. Google even makes note that Ad data may be incorporated into the ranking algorithm:

I do dabble in Google Shopping Ads for some of my own projects (have a couple of family businesses I help manage) and am a big believer in Shopping Ads being a skill that every SEO should have.

There’s increasingly becoming a crossover in skills among the two disciplines, with Merchant Center now being a page every SEO should have bookmarked – which I also suggested in this post from September of 2019. 

Surfaces Across Google will continue to be a hot topic in the SEO world in 2020. I’ll keep tracking the developments and will hopefully have some case studies that I can share in the near future.

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